Friday, May 6, 2016

Ramblings about dying cities

News of current city's potential demise reminded me of cityscapes. And how you and I on a wintry morning in another city, colder than this and much more treacherous, discussed cityscapes in literature. I have passed through cities like a ghost, abandoned them when memories flooded into buildings, alleyways and staircases. I have loved some cities, but promised myself that I'd never go back. But the prospect of a dying city is exhilarating. In the passport of life, for the first time in history, this city will outlive me before I would it.

Data analyses scares us in such strange ways. We are not talking of the cities in Syria. Hollow and dead Aleppo. Nothing remains. Lolab valley --- a town left dead because of erstwhile terrorist activities, nature is intact, but human trust isn't. The gujjar towns in various districts of Kashmir --- completely cut off from modernity, and invisible to laymen, journalists and politicians. A flurry of articles chant the same routine about current city --- "xx will be unliveable in five years... xx will be a dead city by 2023..." --- my world spins; didn't I JUST settle down? Didn't I just blow past every uncertainty that this city had to offer? Didn't my anxiety-ridden mind just organise every bit of my panic-stricken life into neat boxes? 

.... well, while the city dies, I get a little more entangled in public health (sheesh!), violence and numbers! Did I imagine this a year ago? I REALLY did not. My life of conflict/peace has been boxed and on a shelf, kept safely for composting while I run from pillar (ha!) to post in a humdrum, uncomfortable but hectic life. Within five years, our lives might change. We might be packing a bit of this city, with ourselves wherever we go. Like refugees, we would slip away; the city dwindling behind us, buildings crumbling, concrete confetti, the city's lakes frothing feverishly to see us leave.   

We are a tragedy waiting to happen, we are waves waiting to break and crash at the shore. And every cityscape starts along the same lines ---- "Didn't we just settle down...?

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